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WH-QUESTIONS

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by

Sherhanna Maureen

on 18 September 2013

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Transcript of WH-QUESTIONS

special cases involving wh-fronting
WH-QUESTIONS
Used to:
request specific information

in social interaction
for getting directions
in seeking explanations
for eliciting vocabulary
Two fundamental issues:
variety of constituents that can be queried with wh-questions

two basic word orders for unmarked wh-questions
While yes/no questions query an entire proposition, wh-questions are used when the speaker is missing one specific piece of information.
English wh-questions, despite their usefulness, are not acquired especially early.
Variety of constituents:
Subject NP
Object NP
Object of the preposition
Verb phrase
Determiners
Adjective
Adverbial
Underlying a wh-question is the assumption that some event/action has taken place or some state of affairs exists.
In the first sentence, it is the subject that is being queried.

While in the second sentence, it is the object NP that is being queried.
Who wrote a memo to his boss before he quit?

What did Lee write to his boss before he quit?
Subject wh-questions VERSUS
Predicate wh-questions
If there is no operator present, one must be added by means of the operator addition rule.
If an auxiliary verb is present, then it will move when subject-operator inversion is applied.
wh-questions in which some constituent in the subject is being queried are simpler syntactically than those in which something in the predicate is being queried.
Where are you going?
If a determiner or intensifier is the focus a wh-question word, the constituent it modifies must be moved to the front of the string along with the determiner or intensifier.

When the object of the preposition is the unknown element and wh-fronting is applied, the preposition may either be left behind or be moved up to the front of the string along with the NP.

when the question word is the object of a preposition within another prepositional phrase, the entire prepositional complex must be fronted
Whose boss did Lee write the memo to?
How diligently had Lee worked at the firm?
The Meaning of Wh-Questions
Choosing a Wh-question word
uninverted wh-questions
emphatic questions with ever
negative wh-questions
The Use of Wh- Questions
yes/no questions vs. wh-questions
social uses
uninverted wh-questions
elliptical questions
who/whom
display questions
Full transcript